CALL FOR PAPERS : “1914-1918. The War in Maps”, deadline : November 30, 2013


1914-1918. The War in Mapsexport


One-day  symposium organized by the ‘History of Cartography’ Commission, French Committee of Cartography.

June 12, 2014

French National Library, Paris, François-Mitterrand site.


There is no need to recall in what way the 1rst World War dramatically affected societies and territories, as well as personal lives and all forms of culture, in Europe and elsewhere in the world. The 1914-1918 conflict had in all respects a foundational nature.

On the occasion of the 1rst World War commemorations, and in connection with the exhibition, “Summer of ’14: The Last Days of the Old World”, which will be held at the French National Library from March 25 to August 3, the French Committee of Cartography organizes a conference specifically dedicated to the role of cartography in the war.

Three lines of work are suggested:

1/ Preparing for War

How cartography and its different actors (civilian and military) have been mobilized in the preparation and the conduct of the war? Mobilization in different forms: scientific and technical, as well as ideological and political. Which hypotheses, which cartographic scenario, which territorial representations, which orders from the political and military authorities?

2/ Cartography during the War

Here the concern is to come closer to the military operations, to study maps use at the heart of the conflict and to analyze the various cartographic procedures which were implemented and for some of them invented and fixed on this occasion. The objective is to investigate field cartography, embedded in the operations.

3/ Maps in a Society at War

Cartography was not solely developed on the battlefronts, but was also present at the rear. It took various forms, in the newspapers, in the propaganda, in a variety of cultural activities. Societyas a whole was involved in the war, and maps participated in the presence of the war in the social and cultural life of the time. Which representation of the war was conveyed by maps designed for a general public? In what form propaganda made use of cartographic messages?


We expect proposals which won’t be restricted to the French or European theatre, even if  the Western front is of course an essential element of reflection. Furthermore, our ambition for this conference is to rise above a purely technical and operational approach of cartography and to place the emphasis on social, cultural and political dimensions. At last, we wish to inform map uses and practices “from below”, on the field, and not only from the headquarters.


Application process

Proposal must include a title and an abstract of 2.000 sign max. It will include the name, Institutionnal Affiliation, and contact details of the applicant. Abstracts and final papers can be written in French or English (the two conference languages).

The deadline to submit proposals is November 30, 2013.


Scientific Committee

– Jean-Marc Besse, directeur de recherches au CNRS, laboratoire EHGO (Epistémologie et histoire de la géographie) – UMR “Géographie-cités”

– Catherine Hofmann, conservateur en chef des bibliothèques, Bibliothèque Nationale de France (département des Cartes et Plans)

– Guillaume Lebailly, conservateur des bibliothèques, Bibliothèque Nationale de France (département des Cartes et Plans), cocommissaire de l’exposition BnF “Eté 14”.

– Gilles Palsky, professeur de géographie à l’université Paris I

– Isabelle Warmoes, ingénieur d’études, Musée des Plans-Reliefs

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